Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel Criticism - Essay

Quentin Lauer (essay date 1971)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lauer, Quentin. “The Hegelian System.” In Hegel's Idea of Philosophy, pp. 1-14. New York: Fordham University Press, 1971.

[In the following essay, Lauer outlines Hegel's philosophical system and provides an overview of his works.]

The Introduction to the Lectures on the History of Philosophy is particularly significant, as we have already noted in our Preface, because of the place which it holds in the overall “system” which Hegel's philosophy purports to be. What that place is can be clarified in an attempt to sketch the system as a whole, which is at once Hegel's philosophy and his reply to those who would discredit the whole metaphysical...

(The entire section is 3942 words.)

James A. Doull (essay date 1972)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Doull, James A. “Hegel's Philosophy of Nature.” Dialogue 11, no. 3 (1972): 379-99.

[In the following essay, Doull reviews two translations of The Philosophy of Nature that were published in 1970.]


Two translations into English of Hegel's Philosophy of Nature1,2 have appeared in the same year a century after the other parts of the Encyclopaedia—the Logic and the Philosophy of Mind—had been translated. The Victorian translator passed by the Philosophy of Nature, unconscious that to omit the middle part of a systematic work must certainly conceal the sense...

(The entire section is 8978 words.)

Christopher J. Berry (essay date 1981)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Berry, Christopher J. “Hegel on the World-Historical.” History of European Ideas 2, no. 2 (1981): 155-62.

[In the following essay, Berry focuses on illuminating the sense in which Hegel's used the term “world-historical.”]

Hegel's notion of a world-historical individual has always been troublesome. This is exemplified by two of his most recent commentators in English. Shlomo Avineri, on the one hand, regards Hegel's various pronouncements as inconsistent, since, in one place, the world-historical individual is said to be wholly conscious of the idea of history and its development, in another place, is said to be instinctively conscious of it and in yet...

(The entire section is 3819 words.)

Mark C. Taylor (essay date 1981)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Taylor, Mark C. “Aesthetic Therapy: Hegel and Kierkegaard.” In Kierkegaard's Truth: The Disclosure of the Self, edited by Joseph H. Smith, pp. 343-80. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.

[In the following essay, Taylor compares the works of Søren Kierkegaard and Hegel, particularly in the area of psychology, to highlight what he views as their common purpose of educating readers and encouraging them to cultivate themselves spiritually.]

Few thinkers have contributed more to shaping the modern sense of self than the German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel and the Danish philosopher-theologian Søren Kierkegaard. In areas as diverse as theology, philosophy,...

(The entire section is 12941 words.)

William Desmond (essay date 1985)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Desmond, William. “Hegel, Dialectic, and Deconstruction.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 18, no. 4 (1985): 244-63.

[In the following essay, Desmond contends that, despite their differences, Hegel's dialectic is an important precursor to the theory of deconstructionism.]


The topic of deconstruction is one of the most controversial, if not the most controversial issue, in recent literary theory. A measure of this controversy is the manner in which advocates of deconstruction and its antagonists tend to square off against one another, each confronting his opposite with highly combative rhetoric. The very term “deconstruction” itself...

(The entire section is 8214 words.)

Philip J. Kain (essay date summer 1988)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kain, Philip J. “Hegel's Political Theory and Philosophy of History.” CLIO 17, no. 4 (summer 1988): 345-68.

[In the following essay, Kain assesses Hegel's indebtedness to the ideas of Jean Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant for his own theories of politics and history. The critic explains Hegel's concept of spirit, and elaborates on why this theory is fundamental to the philosopher's views on the ideal state in the modern world.]


Hegel's historical and political thought can best be understood if we understand its relationship to Rousseau's political theory and Kant's philosophy of history.

Hegel's conception of...

(The entire section is 10358 words.)

Christoph Menke (essay date fall 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Menke, Christoph. “The Dissolution of the Beautiful: Hegel's Theory of Drama.”1L'Esprit Créateur 35, no. 3 (fall 1995): 19-36.

[In the following essay, Menke analyzes Hegel's aesthetics, focusing on his theory of drama and his views about the purpose and ethical dimensions of art.]


Hegel's thesis of the end of art says that “art, considered in its highest determination, is a thing of the past for us,” and that, therefore, “it has lost for us genuine truth and life.”2 As Paul De Man points out, this “has usually been interpreted or criticized or, in some rare instances,...

(The entire section is 7495 words.)

Philip J. Kain (essay date September 1998)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kain, Philip J. “Hegel's Critique of Kantian Practical Reason.” Canadian Journal of Philosophy 28, no. 3 (September 1998): 367-412.

[In the following essay, Kain contends that in Phenomenology of Spirit Hegel offers a thorough critique of Kant's ethical thought.]

While many philosophers have found Hegel's critique of Kantian ethics to be interesting in certain respects, overall most tend to find it rather shallow and to think that Hegel either misunderstands Kant's thought or has a rather crude understanding of it. For example, in examining the last two sections of Chapter V of the Phenomenology—‘Reason as Lawgiver’ and ‘Reason as...

(The entire section is 20310 words.)

Robert Bruce Ware (essay date 1999)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ware, Robert Bruce. “Hegel's Metaphilosophy and Historical Metamorphosis.” In Hegel: The Logic of Self-consciousness and the Legacy of Subjective Freedom, pp. 7-32. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999.

[In the following essay, Ware addresses misperceptions of Hegel's views of philosophy and the philosophy of history.]

Hegel is commonly understood to have required that the philosophy of history must be retrospective and therefore fundamentally conservative. Yet at the same time he is thought to have claimed that his system involved an absolute truth beyond which no philosophy could advance, and that it therefore marked the end of the history of...

(The entire section is 10458 words.)

Elliot L. Jurist (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Jurist, Elliot L. “Introduction.” In Beyond Hegel and Nietzsche: Philosophy, Culture, and Agency, pp. 1-13. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2000.

[In the following introduction to his comparative study of Nietzsche and Hegel, Jurist outlines the main points of his book, which generally argues that there are important areas of agreement between the ideas of the two philosophers.]

From the perspective of mainstream philosophical culture, Hegel and Nietzsche both exemplify the superfluousness of nineteenth-century philosophy. Within the Continental tradition, on the other hand, Hegel and Nietzsche are typically juxtaposed as opposites in terms of their basic...

(The entire section is 5764 words.)

John McCumber (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: McCumber, John. “Writing Down (Up) the Truth: Hegel and Schiller at the End of the Phenomenology of Spirit.” In Essays on Jewish and German Literature and Thought in Honor of Géza von Molnár: “The Spirit of Poesy,” edited by Richard Block and Peter Fenves, pp. 47-59. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2000.

[In the following essay, McCumber maintains that Hegel's emendations to a poem by Friedrich Schiller at the end of Phenomenology of Spirit were made to fit in with the philosophical message of his book.]

The Phenomenology of Spirit seems to end with the words of Friedrich Schiller, not of its author:


(The entire section is 5920 words.)

Karin De Boer (essay date winter 2001)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: De Boer, Karin. “The Infinite Movement of Self-Conception and Its Inconceivable Finitude: Hegel on Logos and Language.” Dialogue 40, no. 1 (winter 2001): 75-97.

[In the following essay, De Boer explores the relation between thought and language in the Science of Logic.]


Language intrudes into everything that we make our own by representing it, Hegel remarks in the Science of Logic.1 Language is also the element which allows human beings to come into their own themselves: Hegel calls language the existence of the pure self as self. For whereas the self which manifests itself in deeds and...

(The entire section is 11014 words.)

Michael Buckley (essay date spring 2002)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Buckley, Michael. “Irony and the ‘We’ in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit.CLIO 31, no. 3 (spring 2002): 279-300.

[In the following essay, Buckley surveys the use of “we” in The Phenomenology of Spirit and claims that Hegel employs the term as an ironic component of his portrayal of consciousness in the work.]

Although all readers of the Phenomenology of Spirit are familiar with Hegel's device of the “we” (wir) that is employed throughout it, very little commentary exists on the meaning of the “we.” None of this commentary has noted the connection between this device and the trope of irony, a trope that since...

(The entire section is 7804 words.)

Rebecca Gagan (essay date June 2002)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gagan, Rebecca. “Hegel Beside Himself: Unworking the Intellectual Community.” European Romantic Review 13, no. 2 (June 2002): 139-45.

[In the following essay, Gagan maintains that passages in The Phenomenology of Spirit make important points about the act of scholarly production and the work habits of academia.]


There are undoubtedly some who would see a comparison of a section of Hegel's The Phenomenology of Spirit with any book with the words “for Dummies” in the title as crude and objectionable. Indeed, in 1969 Allan Bloom declared: “Hegel is now becoming so popular in literary and...

(The entire section is 4231 words.)